Top of page
JCS, 2 (2), 1995, pp. 99-112
Mathematical Institute, 24–29 St. Giles,
OX1 3LB, UK
Departments of Anesthesiology and Psychology,
University of Arizona,
Tucson, AZ 85724,
Grush and Churchland (1995) attempt to address aspects of the proposal that we have been making concerning a possible physical mechanism underlying the phenomenon of consciousness. Unfortunately, they employ arguments that are highly misleading and, in some important respects, factually incorrect. Their article `Gaps in Penrose's Toilings' is addressed specifically at the writings of one of us (Penrose), but since the particular model they attack is one put forward by both of us (Hameroff and Penrose, 1995; 1996), it is appropriate that we both reply; but since our individual remarks refer to different aspects of their criticism we are commenting on their article separately. The logical arguments discussed by Grush and Churchland, and the related physics are answered in Part 1 by Penrose, largely by pointing out precisely where these arguments have already been treated in detail in Shadows of the Mind (Penrose, 1994). In Part 2, Hameroff replies to various points on the biological side, showing for example how they have seriously misunderstood what they refer to as `physiological evidence' regarding effects of the drug colchicine. The reply serves also to discuss aspects of our model `orchestrated objective reduction in brain microtubules - Orch OR' which attempts to deal with the serious problems of consciousness more directly and completely than any previous theory.
JCS, 2 (2), 1995, pp. 113-142
1 Department of Philosophy
and Center for the Study of Language and Information,
Stanford, CA 94305,
This article is the second and final part of a general introduction to the concept, history, and problems of consciousness. The first was an overview of the study of consciousness in the history of psychology; this essay attempts to lay out the contemporary problems of consciousness and uncover their philosophical foundations. Together they serve as a prelude to the forthcoming special issue `Explaining Consciousness — The Hard Problem'.
JCS, 2 (2), 1995, pp. 148-165
Rafael E. Nunez,
Institute of Cognitive Studies,
University of California,
Mainstream cognitive science shows a strong tendency to explain the mind by postulating a level of analysis separate from the biological and the sociological, and by assuming that the idea of computation is essential. John Searle has challenged these assumptions and suggested a solution to the mind–body problem (biological naturalism). I endorse his view that mental phenomena, consciousness and cognition, are genuine biological phenomena, but argue that Searle ignores some important entailments relative to essential features of the living phenomenon. First, these entailments are in conflict with the objectivistic tradition on which Searle's work rests. This reveals a more serious problem underlying basic assumptions of cognitive science and the philosophy of mind: the inadequacy of ontological objectivism. Secondly, they point to the fact that biological naturalism ignores the very interactive and co-defining nature of biological systems that take place beyond the level of the individual. As a consequence it is incomplete in its foundations and limited in its ability to account for sociocultural processes as inseparable constituents of the mind. To overcome these difficulties a view is outlined (ecological naturalism) that gives a coherent account of the mind and cognition without endorsing objectivism. This view emphasizes the non-separation between the mind and the medium in which it evolves, their biological co-definition, and also the supra-individual nature of the biology of mental phenomena.
JCS, 2 (2), 1995, pp. 166-178
Homi Bhabha Fellow,
93/1 Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road,
Calcutta 700 009,
The Times Higher Education Supplement,
66-68 East Smithfield,
London E1 9XY,
Discussions on the nature of reality between Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali poet, philosopher and Nobel laureate, have provoked interest among both physicists and philosophers since their first publication in 1930/31. This article points out their relevance to past and present debates about the meaning of quantum mechanics.